Mellody Hobson is the president of the firm Ariel Investments, which oversees $9 billion in assets. She is African American business woman who from humble beginnings turned out to have a very successful career.Hobson shared the advice from her mentors who helped her face adversity in her career. Here are the top four pieces of advice:
- Speak up. On Hobson’s day of work at Ariel Investments, founder John Rogers told her, “You’re going to be in a room with people who have bigger titles than you and who make a lot of money, and it doesn’t mean your idea is not better. I want to hear it.”
- Ask a lot of questions. Rogers’ father, who was a judge, said the best way to get information that you need or to help someone come to a different point of view, is not to push or berate them. Instead, ask a series of questions that would help them find the way to the place you were trying to get them.
- Crouch to conquer. “Sometimes you have to be very small to be big. I’ve found especially as a woman of color, that in certain rooms, I am too big. My personality or my confidence or even my speaking voice.” Hobson found that when some people seemed “put off” by her personality, she could pull herself in, tone it down and end up building a strong connection.
- Smile a lot. “I thought it was the most pathetic piece of advice I’d ever heard,” Hobson said of the advice she got early in her career from a Canadian businesswoman. The executive told Hobson that it looked like she had daggers coming out of her eyes, but people want to work with people that they like who are happy. “You’re going to deal with a lot of really hard issues, and they will come across a lot better if you have a smile on your face, because it makes people more comfortable.”
Extracted on LinkedIn from a blog by Jacky Carter
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